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Hess v. State

Supreme Court of Nebraska

February 28, 2014

Troy Hess, also known as Anthony Monjarez, appellant,
v.
State of Nebraska, appellee.

Page 649

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 650

Appeal from the District Court for Douglas County: J RUSSELL DERR, Judge.

Affirmed.

Troy Hess, pro se.

Jon Bruning, Attorney General, and Linda L. Willard for appellee.

Heavican, C.J., Wright, Connolly, Stephan, McCormack, Miller-Lerman, and Cassel, JJ.

Syllabus by the Court

1. Statutes: Appeal and Error. Statutory interpretation presents a question of law, for which an appellate court has an obligation to reach an independent conclusion irrespective of the determination made by the court below.

2. Tort Claims Act: Appeal and Error. The findings of fact of the trial court in a proceeding under the State Tort Claims Act have the effect of jury findings and will not be disturbed on appeal unless they are clearly wrong.

3. Statutes: Appeal and Error. Absent anything to the contrary, an appellate court will give statutory language its plain and ordinary meaning.

4. Statutes: Appeal and Error. When construing a statute, an appellate court must look to the statute's purpose and give to the statute a reasonable construction which best achieves that purpose, rather than a construction which would defeat it.

5. Convictions: Sentences: Words and Phrases. Legal innocence is defined as the absence of one or more procedural or legal bases to support the sentence given to a defendant.

6. Convictions: Sentences: Words and Phrases. Actual innocence refers to the absence of facts that are prerequisites for the sentence given to a defendant.

Page 651

7. Statutes. A court must attempt to give effect to all parts of a statute, and if it can be avoided, no word, clause, or sentence will be rejected as superfluous.

8. Trial: Evidence: Appeal and Error. In a civil case, the admission or exclusion of evidence is not reversible error unless it unfairly prejudiced a substantial right of the complaining party.

Heavican, C.J.

INTRODUCTION

Troy Hess filed a pro se action for compensation under the Nebraska Claims for Wrongful Conviction and Imprisonment Act (Act).[1] The district court concluded that Hess failed to [287 Neb. 560]show that he was innocent of the charges for which he claims ...


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